When family loyalties are at stake, can a woman can be as hard as a man? Detective Sergeant Bev Morriss is in a very dark place. Personal tragedy has pushed her close to self-destruct mode; both colleagues and friends have started to give her a wide berth. But Bev is still a cop - and there are villains to battle, as well as demons. Enter the Sandman, a vicious serial burglar who wears a clown mask and plays mind-games with his victims. When the violence spirals into abduction, blackmail and murder, the bad guys soon discover Bev is in no mood to play…
A sadistic criminal dubbed the Sandman, who wears a clown mask while robbing and assaulting his victims, also leaves sand in their eyes and carves a pound sign in their flesh in Carter's well-crafted sixth mystery set in Birmingham, England (after 2008's Bad Press). As the Sandman's crimes increase in frequency and intensity, Det. Sgt. Bev Morriss feels extra pressure to nab him, but she's still grieving over the loss of her unborn twins and recovering from a failed romance. The stakes rise after the Sandman stabs a well-known London solicitor to death. The suicide of one of the Sandman's earlier victims provides another push for feisty Bev to catch the creepy clown. A strong narrative voice and easy to understand slang make this more accessible to U.S. readers than a lot of contemporary British police novels.